Remember what it was like to navigate an MP3 player for the very first time? Now imagine that challenge multiplied by the hurdles of old age: arthritic fingers, weak vision, the works.
CNNMoney asks, in the age of so-called digital democracy, with technology leveling many playing fields, why should the elderly be left out?
Enter marketer Charles de Vilmorin and software developer HervÃ© Roussel. In 2007, they partnered to create Linked Senior, the first audio entertainment system for the elderly.
The system is built around a touchscreen kiosk, which serves as a centralized downloading station and allows retirement home residents to plug in specialized MP3 players and choose from a library of 63,000 audiobooks, language lessons, music, news reports, games, and other programs.
Linked Senior is based in Washington, D.C., and has signed contracts with 30 retirement communities in the Mid-Atlantic region since its July launch. One of the company’s first “wired” nursing homes, Vinson Hall Retirement Community in McLean, Va., is already using 36 kiosks.
“People load up on the books,” says Fred Johnson, the community’s special events and programs manager. “In our dementia unit, we download music for music therapy, which is great. As we get new residents, we add three or four kiosks every month.”
Photo by Linked Senior.